31 Facts About Marcel Proust


Valentin Louis Georges Eugene Marcel Proust was a French novelist, literary critic, and essayist who wrote the monumental novel In Search of Lost Time, originally written in French and published in seven volumes between 1913 and 1927.


Marcel Proust is considered by critics and writers to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century.


Marcel Proust's birth took place at the very beginning of the French Third Republic, during the violence that surrounded the suppression of the Paris Commune, and his childhood corresponded with the consolidation of the Republic.


Marcel Proust's father, Adrien Marcel Proust, was a prominent French pathologist and epidemiologist, studying cholera in Europe and Asia.


Marcel Proust wrote numerous articles and books on medicine and hygiene.


Marcel Proust was baptized and later confirmed as a Catholic, but he never formally practised that faith.


Marcel Proust later became an atheist and was something of a mystic.


In 1882, at the age of eleven, Marcel Proust became a pupil at the Lycee Condorcet; however, his education was disrupted by his illness.


In spite of his poor health, Marcel Proust served a year in the French army, stationed at Coligny Barracks in Orleans, an experience that provided a lengthy episode in The Guermantes' Way, part three of his novel.


Marcel Proust never worked at his job, and he did not move from his parents' apartment until after both were dead.


Finally, and most crushingly, Marcel Proust's beloved mother died in September 1905.


Marcel Proust spent the last three years of his life mostly confined to his bedroom of his apartment 44 rue Hamelin, sleeping during the day and working at night to complete his novel.


Marcel Proust died of pneumonia and a pulmonary abscess in 1922.


Marcel Proust was buried in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.


Marcel Proust was involved in writing and publishing from an early age.


In 1892, he was involved in founding a literary review called Le Banquet, and throughout the next several years Marcel Proust published small pieces regularly in this journal and in the prestigious La Revue Blanche.


The book included a foreword by Anatole France, drawings by Mme Lemaire in whose salon Marcel Proust was a frequent guest, and who inspired Marcel Proust's Mme Verdurin.


Marcel Proust invited him and Reynaldo Hahn to her chateau de Reveillon in summer 1894, and for three weeks in 1895.


That year Marcel Proust began working on a novel, which was eventually published in 1952 and titled Jean Santeuil by his posthumous editors.


Marcel Proust set out to translate two of Ruskin's works into French, but was hampered by an imperfect command of English.


The Bible of Amiens, with Marcel Proust's extended introduction, was published in French in 1904.


At the time of this publication, Marcel Proust was already translating Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies, which he completed in June 1905, just before his mother's death, and published in 1906.


Marcel Proust described his efforts in a letter to a friend: "I have in progress: a study on the nobility, a Parisian novel, an essay on Sainte-Beuve and Flaubert, an essay on women, an essay on pederasty, a study on stained-glass windows, a study on tombstones, a study on the novel".


Marcel Proust later wrote to Proust apologizing for his part in the refusal and calling it one of the most serious mistakes of his life.


Finally, the book was published at the author's expense by Grasset and Marcel Proust paid critics to speak favorably about it.


Marcel Proust died before he was able to complete his revision of the drafts and proofs of the final volumes, the last three of which were published posthumously and edited by his brother Robert.


Marcel Proust inherited much of his mother's political outlook, which was supportive of the French Third Republic and near the liberal centre of French politics.


Marcel Proust always rejected the bigoted and illiberal views harbored by many priests at the time, but believed that the most enlightened clerics could be just as progressive as the most enlightened secularists, and that both could serve the cause of "the advanced liberal Republic".


Marcel Proust approved of the more moderate stance taken in 1906 by Aristide Briand, whom he described as "admirable".


Marcel Proust was among the earliest Dreyfusards, even attending Emile Zola's trial and proudly claiming to have been the one who asked Anatole France to sign the petition in support of Alfred Dreyfus's innocence.


In 1919, when representatives of the right-wing Action Francaise published a manifesto upholding French colonialism and the Catholic Church as the embodiment of civilised values, Marcel Proust rejected their nationalistic and chauvinistic views in favor of a liberal pluralist vision which acknowledged Christianity's cultural legacy in France.